President Donald Trump has been saying he would do it, and he has finally delivered.
Friday evening on Twitter, President Trump announced that he has signed an executive order to protect American monuments and memorials from vandalism and lawless destruction.
“I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues — and combatting recent Criminal Violence,” Trump wrote. “Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!”
The starting point for the most recent attacks on various monuments in U.S. cities is the death of George Floyd, the 46-year-old Minnesota man who died in the process of being arrested last month.
Since then, we have seen various forms of protest, some violent, some not, against systemic racism, which the protestors claim is so pervasive in our minds and our country. One of the forms that these protests have taken are attacks on our historical monuments.
At first, protestors were mainly targeting Confederate monuments, many of which have been facing threats of removal for years. But, then, the rioters started vandalizing and destroying statues of historical figures that opposed the Confederacy, like Union general and former President Ulysses S. Grant, or were not even from the same era, like President George Washington.
Just on Monday, for example, protestors attempted to take down the famous statue of President Andrew Jackson that stands in Lafayette Square Park. Then, on Friday, there were plans to go after the Emancipation Statute of Abraham Lincoln and a freed slave in Lincoln Park. Thankfully, these attempts were stopped by law enforcement, but, unfortunately, many statutes have been toppled by rioters in recent weeks.
Throughout this past week, President Trump has been insinuating that he was going to do something about the lawless vandalism of American public spaces and monuments. And, on Friday, he did just that.
“My Administration will not allow violent mobs incited by a radical fringe to become the arbiters of the aspects of our history that can be celebrated in public spaces. State and local public officials’ abdication of their law enforcement responsibilities in deference to this violent assault must end,” Trump wrote in the order.
Fox News reports that the executive order that Trump signed “enforces laws prohibiting the desecration of public monuments, the vandalism of government property, and recent acts of violence, withholds federal support tied to public spaces from state and local governments that have failed to protect public monuments, and withdraws federal grants for jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies that fail to stop their desecration.” Fox added that “it also provides assistance for protecting the federal statues.”
To go along with this executive order, Attorney General William Barr has ordered the formation of a task force to combat extremist groups, such as antifa, that are behind some of the vandalism that we have been seeing.
It’s about time that our government is taking action to protect our country and our history.